Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
An employee of a processing facility near the village of Cremona, Alberta was killed in an industrial mishap on August 16, 2017.
The incident happened at about 7:30 AM and a plant belonging to Dalziel Enterprises Ltd., according to Trent Bancarz, spokesperson for Alberta labour. The 63-year-old male worker became caught in hydraulic equipment while on the job. “We don’t know exactly what type of equipment it was, but it involved hydraulics,” Bancarz says.
He adds that other workers at the facility from the victim in a semi-conscious state. “The ambulance came, and he actually died right at the scene.”
RCMP officers and investigators from the Ministry’s OH&S division attended the scene. Police are referring to the totality as a “farming incident”, according to Cpl. Laurel Scott, a spokesperson for the Alberta RCMP.
(Here is a report by the Globe and Mail, written and published by Chris Bolin on November 16, 2015)
The Alberta government is about to update its workplace legislation to protect workers on farms and ranches, which are currently exempt from some laws governing safety.
Alberta is the only province where Occupational Health and Safety legislation is not enforced on farms and ranches, Oneil Carlier, the province’s Minister for Agriculture and Forestry, noted in a statement on Monday. The government on Tuesday will propose changes in an attempt to keep farmhands safe.
The announcement comes one month after three young girls were killed in a farming incident in Withrow, Alta., which the RCMP ruled an accident. The annual rate of farm deaths for children under 15 in Canada has dropped less than one per cent between 1990 and 2012, while the rate of deaths for people between 15 and 59 has dropped by 1.1 per cent, according to the Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting (CAIR) organization. Alberta is limited in its ability to respond to fatal agricultural incidents because OHS rules do not cover farms and ranches in the province.
“That means OHS officers cannot investigate farm deaths and make recommendations to prevent future injuries or fatalities,” Mr. Carlier’s statement said. “This is not acceptable.
“Changes are coming to include farms and ranches in our workplace legislation to ensure workers in the agriculture industry like other workers in Alberta, have the right to safe, fair and healthy workplaces.”
Canada had 2,317 agricultural fatalities between 1992 and 2012, with the overall rate of 12.1 deaths per the Canadian 100,000 farm population, according to CAIR. Of that, 388 were between the ages of 60 and 69, and 373 were between 50 and 59.
It is especially unsafe to grow up on a farm. For example, Alberta farm kids under 18 were 83 per cent more likely to suffer severe injury or death than their urban counterparts between 1999 and 2010, according to a comprehensive doctoral thesis by Kyungsu Kim at the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health.
The Alberta government will roll out its farm safety proposals at the Kalisvaart family farm, known as Kalco Farms Ltd., near Gibbons, Alta. Mike Kalisvaart believes Alberta lags behind other provinces on employee safety and rights on farms. Workers’ compensation for Alberta farms, he said as an example, is not mandatory. Kalco, which employs about 15 people in peak seasons, voluntarily participates in the program.
“I really felt that as we got larger, just by the amount of activity that’s happening on our farm, there’s a greater chance for accidents and I just wanted to make sure that everyone has some income protection,” he said. “I just felt a whole lot better for the people that work for me if I knew that I could provide that if something did happen.”
Mr. Kalisvaart, who also encourages farm safety education, said the workers compensation program also gives Kalco some liability protection. The operation covers about 12,000 acres.
Here we have, in this day and age, laws NOT to protect workers. Farms and ranches have been exempted for a very long time and I was happy to see the changes. Mind you, it will be up to the safety Ministry of Alberta to enforce the new laws.
I brought up the subject of the lack of protection for farm and ranch workers, in Alberta, for the past 10 years.
As a reader of this blog, you must ask yourself this? What was the province of Alberta trying to prove?
Ensure your workplace is a safe place.
Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
Remember – In Alberta, it is not!
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.